Scott MacKay

Political Analyst

With a B.A. in political science and history from the University of Vermont and a wealth of knowledge of local politics, it was a given that Scott MacKay would become a commentator for Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Roundtable.

As a former political reporter for The Providence Journal, MacKay has spent more than thirty years documenting the ins and outs of politics in Rhode Island and New England. MacKay is married to Dr. Staci Fisher, an infectious diseases specialist.

Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScotMackRI

Ways to Connect

CVS Health

What to make of the news that CVS Health, which is headquartered in Rhode Island, is opening a high-tech center in Boston.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts.

Rhode Island-based CVS Health employs more than 7,000 workers in our state. The pharmacy giant calls Woonsocket home, but the recent news that it is opening a high-tech center in Boston sent shivers through segments of the business and  economic development community in a state with New England’s highest unemployment rate.

RIPR FILE

The University of Rhode Island is embarking on an ambitious plan to hire 55 new faculty members over the next four years to support the university’s core missions of teaching,  research and engagement.

URI President David Dooley said URI will invest about $5.3 million to establish these new positions. Money to support this investment in teaching and research will come from within the university’s operating budget.

Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza is making an appearance tonight at the annual Hope Street Merchants Association’s Holiday Stroll along Hope Street.

This event begins at 5:30 p.m. and highlights the businesses along Hope Street. It is a festive event filled with fire jugglers, a petting zoo, musicians  and food trucks. Along with the fun, it serves as reminder of the need to shop local during the holiday season.

RIPR FILE

Some good news for Rhode Island’s  state budget: income and sales tax receipts are up over last year’s totals.

That’s the report from the state Department of Revenue comparing state revenues through October with the same period last year. Income tax collections are 3 percent about last year and sales levies are up 4.3 percent, according to data released today.

On a more sober note, state gambling tax collections are down 1.3 percent from the same period last year.

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo has decided to keep A.T. Wall, Rhode Island’s longtime corrections director, and the nation’s longest serving corrections head, in his post.

Wall has served as director of corrections since 2000. A graduate of Yale University and  Yale Law School, Wall is a native Rhode Islander who worked as a prosecutor in Manhattan after law school. He is known as erudite and thoughtful and is well-respected within the corrections community locally and nationally.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week, Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation visits the program to discuss the latest push to shop local, the foundation’s legislative priorities and his take on the CVS move to build a technology hub in Boston.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

First Student Company

It sometimes seems as if all of our contemporary debates over education revolve around high-stakes testing. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says our schools are neglecting an important topic that isn’t tested.

Trying to figure out what’s happening in education nowadays is an exercise in futility. You have to learn a new language suffused with psycho babble and techno-speak:  educators use terms  like rubrics, social-emotional learning and  site-based management..

If anyone still cares about the Holiday/Christmas tree Statehouse kerfuffle, Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced today that this year’s rotunda evergreen will be called a`` Christmas tree’’ and that Secretary of State Ralph Mollis will light it on Wednesday, December 3 at 6 p.m.

The 15-foor Fraser Fir evergreen was donated to the state by Sarah Partyka of the Farmer’s Daughter farm in South Kingstown.

``I am happy to be part of such a wonderful holiday tradition, lighting the State House Christmas tree,’’ said Mollis in a statement.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week, John Gibbons, executive director of the Rhode Island Sports Commission, visits the program to discuss what it takes to bring college hoops to the Ocean State and the economic impact.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@ripr.org

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island’s Democratic General Assembly leaders want to exempt pensions and social security from state income taxes. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if this makes sense in our cash-strapped state government.

House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, have both said that one of their top priorities when the Assembly convenes in January is legislation that would end income taxes on pensions and social security.

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo is considering Citizens Bank executive Barbara Cottam for a top position in her new administration, according to Statehouse sources.

Cottam, who has vast experience in both the private and political sectors in Rhode Island, is under consideration for chief of staff, one of the most important positions in any gubernatorial administration.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Conservatives love to say that liberalism and political correctness have led to a `War on Christmas’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the war is actually against Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving turkey hasn’t been stuffed yet but the frenzy of Christmas shopping has begun with the annual blizzard of tinsel and glitz. Stroll into your local CVS and you are greeted by shelves festooned with overstuffed Santa Claus figures.

This week Rhode Island Public Radio's political analyst Scott MacKay joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Dave and Scott talk with Christine Ferguson, director of Rhode Island health insurance exchange, Healthsource RI.  They discuss the challenges facing the exchange as it heads into its second open enrollment period even as its future remains up in the air.

   Do you have insight or expertise on this topic?  Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.  news@ripr.org

If Bernie Sanders, Vermont’s left-leaning U.S. senator, decides to run for the Democratic presidential nomination, one Rhode Islander who will be on his team is veteran Democratic political consultant Tad Devine.

Devine, who has held top roles in the presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Mike Dukakis and Al Gore, has had Sanders as a client, going back to the 1990s, when Sanders held Vermont’s lone seat in the U.S. House.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Islanders have elected a governor with far less than a majority of the vote. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what we can do about this.

The boisterous cheers among delirious Democrats crammed into the Providence Biltmore’s 17th floor ballroom on election night have barely quieted. You can’t blame them for hoisting drinks and shouting themselves hoarse:  Gina Raimondo became the first woman to win election as Rhode Island's  governor and the only Democrat to capture the state’s highest elected office since 1992.

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